Brad Fittler has urged incumbent Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce to ‘consider all factors’ when settling his NRL playing future, as the 28-year-old weighs up which club will be the next in his career, following his Roosters exit.
Fittler – who mentored Pearce in his three years as the tri-colours’ coach in 2007 to 2009 – has long been a believer that excellent form at club level is imperative to star in the representative arena.
With reports on Wednesday suggesting that Pearce is close to finding a new home for 2018 and beyond, Fittler said the club to land Pearce’s signature will inevitably shape his future representative hopes.
“We need people who are passionate about their club, they’ll be passionate about New South Wales when it comes,” Fittler said.
“Mitchell’s got to find a club, and that’s up to Mitchell. I haven’t spoken to him.
“I like the two clubs that seem to be the most popular at the moment, Newcastle and Manly, for different reasons. I can see him making a future at both.”
An 18-time NSW representative, Pearce’s next move will determine whether he adds to his tally of Blues appearances.
Speaking at the launch of the Blues’ 2018 Origin Jersey, Fittler made clear that while he will consider the incumbents heavily when picking his team for next year’s Game One, the halves positions remain well and truly up for contention.
“Someone’s got to stand up. Once again, we’re just sort of waiting. A lot really goes into being a really good halfback,” Fittler said.
“Some clubs have quieter halfbacks than others, some teams that win the comps have dominant halfbacks. [NSW] just needs the dominant clubs to have dominant halves.
“We’ve still got (James) Maloney and (Matt) Moylan, and [Pearce], and young kids coming through. You’ve also got Adam Reynolds and blokes like that who are quite capable.
“They’ll be closely watched; the big thing is injury as well. There’s no good picking a team now … a lot is going to happen between now and June 6.”